Before a recession: how to talk about money with your partner

As a couple, it can be very difficult to develop a healthy relationship when it comes to money.
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Money is the second most common reason for divorce in the United States, after infidelity, according to a 2018 study by Ramsey Solutions.

That’s because couples often fail to talk about it, according to American entrepreneur and author Ramit Sethi.

He shares three tips to help couples discuss their finances in a healthy way ahead of a recession.

Money is one of the most important things in life. But it can also be uncomfortable to talk openly about it. As a recession becomes more likely, your personal finances can become a drain on your relationship. A 2018 study by financial consulting firm Ramsey Solutions found that money is the second leading cause of divorce, after infidelity.

Ramit Sethi is an American entrepreneur and author and host of couples struggling for money on his podcast I Will Teach You How To Be Rich. Many of his interviewees have the same problem: they are unable to talk to each other about or manage money.

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“Couples don’t talk about money”

“Couples don’t talk about money, especially in the beginning,” Sethi told Business Insider. “Most people don’t talk about money until they have to. So the relationship between people and money is very tense. It is almost always reactive. They wait for something bad to happen and then they argue about it. And then they put it aside for next time.”

Sethi says people often bring their financial baggage into a relationship. “The real problem is that each of us comes into a relationship with a different perspective on money: how we were raised about money, how much money we make, and how we think our relationship should work,” explains Sethi.

It can be difficult to work on your financial relationship as a couple if you haven’t worked on yourselves first. “Because none of us really learn how money works, it’s like one plus one equals 1000, and that’s the cause of many, many discrepancies,” Sethi adds.

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Imagine your “rich life” together

Sethi asks couples to “imagine their rich life” — whether it’s traveling together, buying expensive things or just feeling financially secure. When a couple wants to transform their relationship with money, Seith told Business Insider, it’s important that they develop a shared vision for finances.

Sethi says he then gets couples to look at the numbers and better understand their finances. He has seen couples with millions in savings argue over $20 in expenses and takeout, he says. “Most people equate their bank balance with their financial health. That’s a very rudimentary way of looking at money.”

A complete overview of your collective and individual wealth is a productive way to align with your financial goals and develop a better understanding of money. Once you have a shared vision and a deeper understanding of your finances as a couple, Sethi recommends that you develop a financial strategy together.

He also suggests asking yourself important questions about how to manage your finances going forward: “How will you talk about money? What kind of proactive meetings will you set up? And when will you book the trip to Italy?”

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Sethi doesn’t think his advice always works—about 10 percent of the couples he features on his podcast don’t respond to his check-ups, which he describes as a red flag. But Sethi also notes that money alone is rarely the issue when a couple fights.

The underlying problem is often the way one person communicates or treats the other person. “Money is just a word. Conversely, it means: ‘He wouldn’t talk to me about money.’ Or ‘she wouldn’t sit down with me and work out our financial plan.’ It’s the smallest things.”

This article was translated from English by Melanie Gelo. You can read the original here.

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